Weekend coverage of Kenneth Feinberg’s claims process, which kicks off Monday (Aug. 23), has illustrated what happens when very important systems are designed in virtual secrecy. Fishermen who risked their health discover they maybe should have stayed home, because BP “lobbied” Mr. Feinberg into applying any money they earned toward their final payments. So, in effect, the fishermen were volunteers, and BP got the cleanup work done for free.
We’ve noted time and again the lack of transparency in this process, and of course everyone hopes that the new claims process is better than the delay tactics BP has employed. But it’s not exactly comforting that we begin with an application that, depending on what sections apply to you, can run more than a dozen pages.
And you have to sign under penalty of perjury, which can create an intimidation factor. To the volumes of coverage, I would add that the standard of service should not be the “old” claims process – that was really just designed to avoid payment.
I would also add that, in my professional opinion, no one should sign on a complex or large buisness claim without an attorney consult.
As the rubber meets the road this week, we’re be hoping for the best.
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